May 5, 2010
By Michael Lewis
Dealing with soccer's physics, MLS style
Just call it soccer's laws of physics No. 24:
Two events cannot occupy the same space at the same time, so you will have to find room for the other one.
Case in point:
When MLS decided not to play for the opening two to three weeks of the World Cup, just where do you think those regularly scheduled games went?
They had to be played sometime and mid-week in May and early, which is not exactly prime time territory for the league (of course, weekends are).
So, this is the busiest week of the season with 11 games and six teams played twice this week.
On Wednesday night, the league has scheduled (home team listed first):
* D.C. United vs. Kansas City Wizards at 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
* New England Revolution vs. Chivas USA at 7:30 p.m. (Comcast SportsNet NE / MLS Direct Kick)
* Houston Dynamo vs. FC Dallas at 9 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)
* Colorado Rapids vs. L.A. Galaxy at 9:30 p.m. (MLS Direct Kick)
Seven more games are scheduled for Saturday and there will be more mid-week games to come between now and the beginning of June.
Remember, there are only a finite number of weekend dates MLS has to use and there is no way teams are going to play a ridiculous Friday-Sunday situation the old North American Soccer League did many years ago.
So, you either pay now or pay later.
No complaints here. Besides, we'll see what sort of dip there is from weekend attendance for these mid-week encounters.
So, why not schedule more games in the middle of the summer? Well, there are Lamar Hunt/U.S. Open games, competitions such as SuperLiga and CONCACAf Champions League, a few international friendlies thrown in as well. Some times will have some extremely crowded fixtures come July and August.
It isn't a perfect world. But if you want your World Cup cake and to eat it as well, well, you've got to make sacrifices sometime.
This is one of them.